Ugly Duckling Presses is having a reading and party on Sunday October 29 at 6:30pm at Stellar Projects (1 Rivington Street) in NYC to celebrate the release of six new chapbooks. With readings from Simone Kearney, Chukwuma Ndulue, Jeremy Hoevenaar, Stacy Szymaszek, Brent Cunningham, and Holy Melgard.
Here we have excerpts from two of the releases, My Ida by Simone Kearney and Catcall by Holly Melgard.
From My Ida by Simone Kearny
But am I not Ida? Am I myself Ida?
Ida went up in smoke. No evidence but
painful shade. Ida’s shade.
Why is it that often, pain
doesn’t remember itself? Or rather, it leaves a trace
not in the mind, but somewhere invisible, imperceptible
in the body. An interior scar of sorts. Mark in the body.
Dent. And the shape of what got lost makes
its shape in you. So much water looks like a bone.
Is memory in bone? Bluish in water.
Something like the blue corner of
a left shoulder—Ida’s
non-vocal, something like a blank testimonial.
I fixate on what Ida represents.
I get lost there, down the rabbit hole.
All else fades. I project myself
into a space that is purely Ida
for a split second. I know it to be false—
but it is a delicious “as if.”
What produces Ida?
What produces Ida in a hat? Put Ida in a hat.
Make the hat into Ida. If I am good, Ida
will become more Ida-ish.
Ida will become a metaphor for how good I am.
What a good hat Ida gave me to grow in.
If I could have Ida as a twin, am I a good hat for Ida?
Ida doesn’t grow well in me. But I want to be good.
I want to be Ida’s good Ida.
I want to be an Ida, mirrored.
I want to be Ida.
Is it that to see Ida I need to operate in fog?
Or rather, I go up to Ida and see fog. I feel
dizzy as if my vision were blurred. In return,
a burning “something” is activated
when I am in Ida’s presence (need? desire?)
and it obliterates everything else, even fog.
Silence, are you my Ida? Can you be my
Ida? Are you? Are you sure?
Ida is full of silence, so therefore silence
is my Ida. Ida is
so full. Ida is so full of silence so therefore Ida is so full.
I fall in love with Ida because Ida is so full.
When Ida closes
Ida’s eyes, I hear nothing. When Ida closes Ida’s eyes
I am a bit of distance. Ida could have been me.
But Ida is silence. Ida is silence in the distance, or
distance in silence.
Someone on the train holds orchids covered in plastic. The eye is a blue bottle on sloping water, “I’m all there,” it says, only to wave and crease, breaks up words into other smaller versions of the same word, stuffs the runts of letters into slots, takes off the dress of what’s difficult to interpret, bumps into the chafe of hue, the kidney-light of staying awake, it’s all hard to interpret, like a flea on the hull of a boat which is really a new bit of knowledge on the curtain of Ida’s neck, there, where I place my palm, Ida’s limping discrete mouth strong as root vegetable and limited as a front door key that won’t fit into any keyhole, to talk is another form of knitting like a stranger’s sweater red and blue and like a telephone of wind, as if the birds were accurate representations of fragments, and Ida were a panorama of metonymy, palpable, high pitched. Ideas make me sleepy, I feel for my socks—it is the sudden brief encounter with the presence of keeping oneself to oneself. Like too much air clustered where Ida wakes, something I could almost glare at. Breath imitating another breath.
What if I were a little
manufacturing plant of
One can seek out suffering like a truffle pig sniffs
for truffles. Ida truffle.
I poked it (there was a lack of pressure in the act
It was bald (Ida has sometimes red
or sometimes blue hair). It stretched
into the acrid, stuffed smell of old beer
in a bar, and then stretched out
the window to the streetlight. It didn’t really smile.
It hardly noticed me.
But I liked it.
For instance, this grief I feel when Ida leaves, how it forms a mini residue of grief as when extremely
salty water evaporates and leaves a ridge of salt along the dried-up surface. There, where water used to be.
And now this ridge of surplus—something I could touch.
Simone Kearney is a writer and visual artist. She is author of In Threes, a limited edition artist chapbook (Minute BOOKS, 2013). She has exhibited her artwork and performed readings and lectures in New York and Baltimore in the United States, in Hamburg, Germany, and in Ireland. Born in Dublin, Ireland, she now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She teaches writing and studio art at Parsons School for Design in Manhattan.
From Catcall by Holly Melgard
OMG check out that guy over there! Oh my god, look at him. Look at what a guy he is.
Hey cute guy. Hey. Hey you. Hey hi. Hi cutie! How are you?
He sure is cute. Oh my god. Look at how cute he is. Holy shit, he’s a cute one. Jesus Christ, look at him! Look at that guy being such a guy. Oh my god, what a guy. Talk about a guy.
Hey guy. Hey guy, guy. Guy—yeah you guy. Hi guy. Hey you’re a really cute guy. You sure are.
Oh my god, he’s a cute guy. Oh he is a guy. He is, isn’t he. Dude, just look. Look. Look at what a fucking guy he’s being. He’s just being a really really cute little guy right now.
Hey, cute one. Look at you. You’re a cute little guy aren’t you. You are. You’re a huge cute little guy. Yes you are. The hugest. It’s ok. I like that.
I like you.
Look at what a guy he’s being. Look at him go.
I’ll bet he just needs to cuddle right now, and that’s why he’s being like that. He probably does. You know it’s true.
Hey pretty big little cute guy. Do you need to cuddle? Do you? Do you want to cuddle a little bit? Because I can cuddle, and I can tell you’re a cuddler. Oh I can. You sure are.
Oh he is a huge tiny cute guy, isn’t he. The tiniest one. Oh he is. He really is. He’s just a pretty big cute guy, that’s all. I mean, he’s being a pretty big little guy right now. Really, yeah, that’s what he is. Isn’t he. Don’t you think so? I know I do. Oh I sure do. I really think that he is cute as hell. I mean, look at him.
It’s ok. I just like you is all. Yeah I do. I like you.
What a goddamn small little man he is. Isn’t he being a really big tiny guy for what a cute small man he is? I definitely think that that is true. I think that because he is. Yes. That is what he is. He is a teeny tiny guy and that definitely makes him the biggest cute little huge tiny guy that there ever was. Or, in the least, what he is doing right now is being a really huge cute guy. Oh he is that cute. He really is.
Hey little buddy. Hey bud. Hey buddy. Hey little mister buddy. You can come home with me if you want to. Wanna come be my bud? Wanna be my bud buddy. Come be my baby bud. Come home with me now. Come be my little baby bud.
Oh god can you believe what a fucking guy he’s being right now? I mean look at him. How the fuck did he even get to be such a guy? I don’t even know. Look at this fucking guy. That has got to be the tiniest guy that there has ever been EVER and that is how small he is. This guy.
You really are a huge little guy, aren’t you. Yeah you are. Hey guy, your smallness is way too large right now. It’s ridiculous. That’s right. You sir are being ridiculous.
Oh my god, he’s being ridiculous right now. So ridick. What a guy. I swear that has got to be the hugest big little goddamn small man who has ever existed in the history of cute guys who have ever lived ever. I’m sorry, but it needs to be said. He’s just being a really tiny cute one right now is all.
Hey buddy. Bud. Hey bud. Excuse me, bud? Hey bud, I like looking at your body. I really like your small bod. Ok?
Shit look at him now. Is he getting even littler or what? Just look at him. Look. He. Is. Being. A. Really, really, REALLY LITTLE GUY, and that is what he’s doing.
What a fucking baby guy you are. Yeah you are. Look at your babybody. Come on bud.
Holly Melgard is the author of the Poems for Baby trilogy, The Making of The Americans, Black Friday, Reimbursement (Troll Thread) and Cats Can’t Taste Sugar (Gaus PDF). Along with Joey Yearous-Algozin, she’s co-authored White Trash(Troll Thread) and Holly Melgard’s Friends and Family (Bon Aire Projects). She’s performed her poems and soundworks at such sites as the Kelly Writers House, New York Museum of Modern Art, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Her writing has appeared in l’Officiel Art, 6×6, and the Best American Experimental Poetry 2015 anthology. A founding editor of Troll Thread press, she’s also co-curated the Segue Reading Series and co-edited P-Queue and Slightly West literary journals. She is currently writing her PhD dissertation on “Poetics of Ubiquitization: Textual Conditions of/for the Ubiquitous Computing Age” in the Buffalo Poetics Program, designing and co-editing Troll Thread press, teaching writing at CUNY, and living in Brooklyn, NY.